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LNG-fueled research vessel nears delivery

Written by Nick Blenkey
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Atair was bunkered with LNG by truck. [Image: Gasum]

The world’s first LNG-fueled research ship, Atair, was bunkered with liquefied natural gas by Finnish-based energy company Gasum on July 27 at Germany’s Fassmer shipyard. According to Gasum, the operation was the first truck-to-ship LNG bunkering to be carried out in Germany.

Atair is being built for the German Federal Maritime and Hydrographic Agency (BSH) and will enter service later this year, replacing the current Atair, commissioned in 1987.

“Our first LNG bunkering operation with trucks in Germany was a great success and we are proud that we can support the Fassmer shipyard with this very important newbuild project,” says Jacob Granqvist, Sales Director, LNG Maritime, Gasum. He notes that Gasum has already supported customers with ship-to-ship deliveries in Northwest Europe, but says the truck-to-ship delivery underlines the company’s commitment to expanding itd geographical footprint in continental Europe.”

Fassmer recently released images of the Atair on sea trials and notes the ship will comply with the latest environmental regulations and will receive the German environmental certification “Blauer Engel.”

While its main tasks are surveying and searching for wrecks, it will also be used to monitor the marine environment and has an innovative hull shape that makes it particularly quiet. The vessel’s underwater noise has been optimized to meet the DNV SILENT class notation (SILENT R).

Helping achieve this is a propulsion system characterized by particularly low noise emissions. It comprises a 1,000 kW Schottel Pump Jet and Schottel Transverse Thrusters:, a 330 kW unit in the bow and a 200 kW unit in the stern. The system gives the vessel maximum maneuverability, while the Pump Jet can also be used as a standby unit (take-home device).

The ship is powered by two 6-cylinder Wärtsilä 20DF dual-fuel engines capable of running on either LNG or conventional liquid fuels., Wärtsilä’s supply scope also includes one 6-cylinder Wärtsilä 20 engine, two exhaust cleaning systems based on selective catalytic reduction (SCR) technology, and a Wärtsilä LNGPac fuel storage, supply, and control system.

Atair on sea trials [Image: Fassmer]
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